“Wayne said that we should have pursued Mesut Özil. My reply was that it was none of his business who we should have gone for. I told him it was his job to play and perform,” said Sir Alex Ferguson in his autobiography, as he explains his opinion over Wayne Rooney’s desire to leave Old Trafford in October 2010 when the club, according to Rooney, wasn’t ambitious enough.
How times change. Three and half years on since that day, Rooney has won other two Premier League titles with United, seen the man that had not too subtly told him to mind his business depart, before threatening to leave the club himself, only to become United’s player of the season, so far.
And there’s a lot more to come as far as Rooney and Manchester United are concerned, for not only are United and their star man edging closer to finalise a deal that could be worth up to £300,000-a-week, a significant increase on the already staggering £250,000-a-week contract in place now, but Rooney will be made captain sooner rather than later.
Rooney’s performances this season have done enough to guarantee him a new deal – one dare not to imagine where United would sit on the table had they sold him to Chelsea last summer – and considering that his current contract expires in 18 months, it’s perhaps a smart decision by United to tie their striker to a long-term deal, thus minimising the distractions generated by potential suitors circling around Rooney for the next couple of months.
However, reports emerging today highlight how Rooney has been given an enormous amount of hindsight over the club business, a sharp change of policy from the Sir Alex Ferguson era when, as made abundantly clear in the first paragraph, the players’ job was “to play and perform”.
According to the Guardian, The Times and other publications, Rooney was informed by David Moyes of United’s intentions to submit a club-record offer for Juan Mata and has also spoken at length to Ed Woodward and members of the Glazers family, as he sought insurances over their future plans for the club.
Rooney “has been trusted with transfer-market information and kept in the loop about possible signings in a move that acknowledges his importance to the club and a recognition, at the highest level within Old Trafford, that a player of Rooney’s stature deserves to know whether a team who have been struggling all season have the financial muscle and ambition to put it right.”
The tactic seems to have worked a treat, with Rooney set to sign a new contract at Old Trafford sooner rather than later, which will keep him United until he’s 33, which has prompted some to doubt the wisdom of giving such a long contract to a man who’ll turn 30 next year and whose body has taken a battering, as Rooney himself admitted in his latest autobiography.
The promise of a new contract and United’s “VIP treatment” as one paper puts it, look to have finally convinced Rooney that United will not listen to any offer coming from Chelsea over the summer, much as they rebuffed Jose Mourinho’s two bids in August.
Have we heard the end of this story yet? Probably not.